I am pleased to say we have a habit of writing articles like this. DNA advances are closing in on many justice dodging killers.
22nd March 1980 Eve Wilkowitz was only 20 years old. She took a train from Manhattan to her home area of Bay Shore, Long Island, USA.
What is without doubt is her family were informed a few days later that Eve Wilkowitz had been found dead. She had been discovered in a back yard not far from her home. She had been raped and then strangled to death. Evidence was gathered and the usual tactics were followed by the police but no massive strides were made.
Ms Wilkowitz’s mother had died before she did. That left her father and younger sister to grieve for her. When her father died her sister Irene carried on always in contact with the police.
It was her son who noticed that backtracking on genetic material had nabbed the Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. The process involves accessing private data bases like genealogical services and looking for genetic connections with family members. This does pose some legal and ethical questions, not all states are on board with accessing such data. When Irene suggested this method to the police it turned out New York did not allow the process, however, the FBI had been involved to some degree in the enquiry. The Feds had no such restriction.
The DNA had been extracted from semen samples collected at the crime scene. In the end they traced the son of a creature called Herbert Rice.
Rice had been 29 years old when he killed Ms Wilkowitz. It was bitter sweet closure for the victim’s family. He had died of cancer in 1991.
When approached, to his credit, Rice’s son had helped the enquiry willingly. He is reported as saying he was not close to his father.
What I thought was interesting is that Rice had only what are described as minor convictions by the time he died. A constant nagging mystery for me is how someone can kill in the way Rice did and then just stop. That level of cruelty, to kidnap a woman, drag her into a unseen area, rape her and end her life would indicate a darkness of the soul.
This case indicates these creatures can just kill and then not do so again. It would explain many cases on here and hundreds throughout the world where DNA samples sit awaiting a link.
So 42 years goes by and the killer is identified. How many killers walk amongst us with the same chance, years later, of being discovered?
I hope some of them read about this case. I really do.
I also hope this result has brought the family of Eve Wilkowitz some peace.
Another even older case has a DNA profile waiting for a match: